All Pete Weber could do was shake his head and smile as Walter Ray Williams Jr. was steamrolling his way into the history books.
Williams nearly topped off his Denny’s PBA Tour record-breaking 42nd career title with the 17th nationally televised 300 game in Tour history. He settled for a dominating 289-236 win over Weber to take home the Dydo Japan Cup 2006 crown, and now stands alone in the record books.
The PBA Hall of Famer tied Earl Anthony’s all-time record back in March with a win over Weber in the title match of the 2006 Denny’s World Championship. Weber again succumbed to his nemesis on Sunday, as Williams moved to 5-0 in title matches against Weber in a rivalry that has spanned more than 20 years.
“It feels unbelievably good. To be in this position is beyond my wildest dreams,” said Williams (Ocala, Fla.). “I’m very proud of what I’ve done, but hopefully it won’t stop here.”
Sunday’s title match started off in dramatic fashion, as the two great champions traded strikes through the first five frames. Weber was the first to falter, leaving two pins in the sixth frame. That was all the room a fired up and determined Williams needed, as he continued to strike at will.
After wrapping up the match with his ninth consecutive strike, all that remained in question was whether Williams could put together his first career televised 300 game. After striking with his first ball in the 10th, however, Williams left a solid 7-pin on his next shot.
“I threw a good shot but the pins were a little stubborn,” said Williams. “I knew coming in I had my hands full and it would take 260 or 270 to win. Pete bowled great early on, but fortunately for me he threw a couple bad shots and I just kept striking.”
The 46-year-old had struggled to get to win No. 41, taking seven TV appearances and nearly two years to pull even with Anthony. He has come on strong of late, however, as it took him just three events to win his 42nd.
Williams was just a Ryan Shafer strike away from not advancing to the title match. In the semifinal match of the stepladder finals, the second-seeded Williams watched as Shafer needed a strike in the 10th frame to move on to the title game. The third seed left a split, however, to give Williams the 215-195 win.
Weber came in as the top seed and was given an automatic berth in the title match. A win would have given the PBA Hall of Famer his 33rd career title and made him the second bowler in history to collect over $3 million in career earnings. Instead, it was Williams who inched closer to becoming the first bowler in history to go over the $4 million mark with his $50,000 prize check.
In other matches Sunday, Mike Machuga won a four-bowler shootout to start the day, firing a 235 to defeat Chris Barnes (215), Steve Jaros (213) and Wes Malott (193). Machuga then defeated Patrick Healey Jr., 253-189, before falling to Robert Smith, 222-200. Smith moved on to face Ryan Shafer, who advanced to the semifinal with a 191-172 win.
The final round of the Dydo Japan Cup 2006 will air tape-delayed on ESPN Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. ET.
The Denny’s PBA Tour returns Oct. 22-29 with the 2006 USBC Masters in Milwaukee, Wis., the first of four Major events on the schedule.Notes
- The victory marks Williams' second career Japan Cup title, his first since 1991.
- Williams is now 8-2 against Weber on TV, including a perfect 5-0 record in title matches.
- After bowling against each other in a televised title match just three times in their first 22 years on Tour together, Weber and Williams have now met in the title match in two of the last four events.
- Williams is the only PBA player to have bowled in all 22 Japan Cup events.Denny’s PBA Tour
Dydo Japan Cup 2006
Tokyo Metro Gymnasium
Sunday, Sept. 24
|1.||Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla.||504 (2 games)||$50,000 |
|2.||Pete Weber, St. Ann, Mo.||236 (1 game)||$25,000|
|3.||Ryan Shafer, Horseheads, N.Y.||386 (2 games)||$12,000|
|4.||Robert Smith, Captain Cook, Hawaii||394 (2 games)||$7,000|
|5.||Mike Machuga, Erie, Pa.||688 (3 games)||$6,000|
|6.||Patrick Healey Jr., Denton, Texas||189 (1 game)||$5,000|
|7.||Chris Barnes, Flower Mound, Texas||215 (1 game)||$4,600|
|8.||Wes Malott, Dallas, Texas||193 (1 game)||$4,200|
|9.||Steve Jaros, Yorkville, Ill.||213 (1 game)||$3,800|
SCORES – In the shootout, Machuga (235) def. Barnes (215), Jaros (213) and Malott (193); in the first match, Machuga def. Healey, 253-189; in the second match, Smith def. Machuga, 222-200; in the third match, Shafer def. Smith, 191-172; in the semifinal, Williams def. Shafer, 215-195; and in the final, Williams def. Weber, 289-236.
This is Williams’ record-breaking 42nd career Denny’s PBA Tour title.